Last summer at Bread Loaf, Lynn Freed had us write last paragraphs to our novel. It was a grand exercise. Really hard.
From my position, still very much at the beginning stages of a first draft, I stuttered and stammered and wrote a horrible passage based on an inorganic ending that I hoped would fix itself when the time came.
Now, over a year later, the entire third act of the book is vastly different than originally conceived. My final scene is based upon another conceit entirely. What was I thinking?
The exercise itself was invaluable though. A way to jump start the plot muscle--force the writer to consider structure in the design of a novel. Now, a few chapters from the end, I am writing to that last scene--I see it clearly, and it is both compelling and daunting.